The Newton House: After
One family renovates the house of their dreams with the intention of staying a lifetime
Not much changed the look of the house's front, save for a warm taupe paint color. But one seemingly invisible change is all the new replacement windows supplanting the inefficient, bargain-basement ones installed 10 years ago.
The front entry of the house shows off its late-Victorian-era grandeur, with stained glass windows around the front door and at the landing; rich wood newel, railing, and trimwork; and a two-floor open stairwell.
The wood paneling ornamenting the stairs and the front entry, along with all the woodwork in the house, received a good cleaning and new finish to make it shine again.
Madeline Krauss, Paul Friedberg, and sons in their living room. The couple left the two formal rooms at the front of the house alone so they could turn the kitchen and adjacent rooms at the back of the house into an area they'll
use every day.
The new family room, previously the dining room, connects to the kitchen through an expanded doorway, so that what would have been a little-used formal space became a constantly occupied informal one. A bay-window bumpout in the kitchen—a replica of other bays in the house—is the only expansion to the existing footprint, making room for a casual eating area in the new, more communal kitchen.
The back staircase was opened up with balusters; its formerly solid walls had contributed to the compartmentalized feeling at the back of the house.
The new layout expands on the old galley kitchen's square footage, moving the work area into a larger, more comfortable space in the former laundry room. The center island has ample seating near the prep area, so everyone can be in the room while the cook works. The island got an oiled-teak top, and the rest of the kitchen's counters are engineered stone, a more durable substitute for the period-appropriate slate they resemble.
The remnant of the old galley kitchen layout remains on the window wall, opposite the center island.
At the other end of the kitchen space, a mudroom replaces an old library and its cheap plywood shelves. To the right of cubbies designed to hold coats and shoes is a door that leads to a porch with stairs to the driveway and the garage. The new entrance makes it easier to come directly into the most-used areas from the car.
The master bedroom, though small, remained essentially the same. One window was moved over a couple of feet to create a wall that could accommodate a bed and headboard.
The one luxury added to the master suite was a new, larger bathroom and adjoining walk-in closet.
A sleeping porch that had already been enclosed offered the perfect location for the new master bath and walk-in closet, creating a full master suite—something the house had been lacking—in conjunction with the adjacent bedroom and nearby office.
Rounding out the second-floor master suite is a new home office, where Paul works daily and Maddie keeps a desk. The room has entrances from both the hallway and directly from the bedroom.
A billiards room on the third floor, complete with original gas/electric light fixture, was adapted to become a indoor play retreat for the family. The big-screen TV has a plexiglass cover to protect it from errant cues and flying pool balls.
While the front of the house remains unchanged, the back is significantly different, with the construction of a first-floor porch
off the kitchen and a terrace at ground level—perfect for
the neighborhood gatherings Paul and Maddy love to host.
The backyard, designed by landscape architect Stephanie Hubbard and built by TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook, features a bluestone terrace and sitting wall, as well as a yard leveled with tons of fill. Now Paul has the play area he wanted for him and his sons to enjoy, a place where a lot of the fun will happen for years to come.